Lessons for Resilience
Consider how COVID-19 could re-shape food supply chains and markets
The pressures placed on the global food system during COVID-19 activated various policy responses across the world to manage supply and demand. Sub-Saharan African countries rely heavily on food imports. This means that international agricultural policy responses to the pandemic in markets on which Africa relies, directly affect the region’s food markets. Potential impacts include “commodity price volatility the availability of supplies and farmers’ planting decisions”. Consider how to address the impacts of COVID and build food system resilience for the future with regard to countries that rely on food imports:
- Design more “holistic policy interventions” which tackle bottlenecks in the vast span of “value chain actors” e.g. suppliers and transporters, traders and retailers, to advance resilience of the entire supply chain
- Invest in market infrastructure, e.g. cold storage systems, to strengthen supply chains of perishable goods
- Establish and increase social protections for particularly vulnerable groups e.g. “urban poor, informal workers and resource-poor smallholder farmers"
- Advance regional and local trade agreements that enable greater food market integration – with the aim of developing resilient domestic and regional food systems, lowering the reliance on importing, and increasing local domestic economic growth
Consider how pandemics in informal settlements are managed, their context-specific needs, and challenges in contagion
Attempts to quarantine and sanitise informal settlements at the time of the 2014 Ebola crisis ended with mixed, if not poor results, along with violence and revolts due to poor preparation, planning and information sharing with the population. Consideration of these issues during a global pandemic is important to mitigate the risk of resurgence
Singapore's recent spike in COVID-19 cases is an example of this issue; the spike originated from the country's vast migrant worker population who live in poor conditions in crowded dormitories. Workers have been quarantined in their small, over-populated rooms for two weeks. It will be important to consider health and well-being and the potential for unrest in these contexts.